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By Andrew Epstein

Even though it has lengthy been common to visualize the archetypal American poet making a song a solitary "Song of Myself," a lot of the main enduring American poetry has really been preoccupied with the drama of friendship. during this lucid and soaking up learn, Andrew Epstein argues that an obsession with either the pleasures and difficulties of friendship erupts within the "New American Poetry" that emerges after the second one global warfare. by way of targeting probably the most major postmodernist American poets--the "New York university" poets John Ashbery, Frank O'Hara, and their shut modern Amiri Baraka--Beautiful Enemies finds a basic paradox on the middle of postwar American poetry and tradition: the avant-garde's dedication to individualism and nonconformity runs at once counter to its personal valorization of group and collaboration. in reality, Epstein demonstrates that the conflict among friendship and nonconformity complicates the mythical alliances solid through postwar poets, turns into a primary subject within the poetry they created, and leaves modern writers with a sophisticated legacy to barter. instead of easily celebrating friendship and poetic neighborhood as nurturing and encouraging, those poets signify friendship as a type of exhilarating, maddening contradiction, a domain of allure and repulsion, affinity and rivalry.

tough either the reductive opinions of yankee individualism and the idealized, seriously biographical celebrations of literary camaraderie one unearths in a lot serious dialogue, this e-book offers a brand new interpretation of the odd dynamics of yank avant-garde poetic groups and the position of the person inside of them. by way of situating his large and revealing readings of those hugely influential poets opposed to the backdrop of chilly conflict cultural politics and in the context of yankee pragmatist proposal, Epstein uncovers the collision among radical self-reliance and the siren name of the interpersonal on the middle of postwar American poetry.

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